It has been more than six years since I conducted the first interview for this book. I have kept in touch with some of the women whose stories appear here. I have also heard snippets about the lives of others. When I heard news that was not the information I expected, my impulse was to rush back to the manuscript and edit out the story. I have not done that.
Melanie (pages 8-15), who quit work to return to art, has opened up her own business doing work very similar to the development work that she used to do, but now the business is her own and she plans to bring in her daughter as a partner. She also sent me an invitation to her art show. Nan (pages 25-26) did not marry after all. I don't know why. Isabelle (pages 34-37) continues to work full time teaching photography and writes as often as she can. Megan, first married at forty-three (pages 75-77), had her first child and is a stay-at-home mom after all these years of work. Con (page 114) happily moved to Europe for a job. Margaret (pages 160-162) came back into therapy briefly because her drinking threatened to get out of control. Claire's (pages 117, 147-148) business continues to thrive and is becoming quite well known. Laura's (pages 118-120) business folded with a loss of money and confidence, and although that year was one of her most difficult, she has moved into other satisfying, well-chosen opportunities. Bobbi (pages 176-177) has become a tougher woman than she used to be, in part because her son almost died before he gave up drugs. He is now clean and the family feels like they are all recovering. Karen (page 45) and Lila (page 184) both went back to part-time work in the same fields, work they disliked, but each has less responsibility and more freedom. And I have a contract to write another book.
So, was I wrong? Many women fell short of the goals that they described to me six years ago. But I don't think I am mistaken about the process. Each woman says that she is more alive, more in control of her world, and more engaged with life. Laura reminded me that success is not simply achieveng the goal, it is the attitude we take when we go after the dream.